Dudu Myeni (born 29th October 1963) is a 59 year old South African businesswoman famous for having served as the chairperson of South African Airways SOC Limited. She is also known for being a close friend and ally of former president Jacob Zuma and having been a former executive chairperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
Dudu Myeni Was Born and Raised in Melbourne, Australia
The 59-year-old businesswoman was born and raised in Melbourne City, capital of Victoria State in Australia. However, details of Mrs. Myeni’s early life are insufficient and not public knowledge. Apart from the fact that her parents were resident in Australia where she was born and raised, information about her siblings are not known.
With regards to her education, she received her Primary Teachers Certificate from Madadeni College and a Secondary Teachers Diploma from Umlazi College. Sometime in 2009, she listed a bachelor’s degree in administration from the University of Zululand amongst her credentials. Those qualifications were removed the following year after Myeni admitted that she still has 2 outstanding majors.
Below is a list of Myeni’s educational qualifications:
• Primary Teachers Certificate from Madadeni College
• Secondary Teachers Diploma from Umlazi College
Dudu Myeni Has Been Entangled In Several Political Controversies
The notable South African businesswoman and former chairperson of South African Airways SOC Limited happen to be the former executive chairperson of the Jacob G Zuma Foundation from September 2008 to May 2020. However, she is most famous for her controversial link and close friendship with the former SA president while in office as chairperson of South African Airways SOC Limited.
This controversy led to what is now known as the Zonda Commission Inquiry where Mrs. Myeni was accused by Angelo Agrizzi, the chief operating officer of Bosasa, (a company that provides the government with services most notably, prison services). Mr. Agrizzi testified during the inquiry that monthly illegal payments of R300, 000 that was allegedly on behalf of former President Zuma were being paid to Dudu Myeni.
On 27th May 2020, Judge Ronel Tolmay, at the Pretoria high court, declared Myeni “a delinquent director'” and prohibited her from holding a public directorial position for life.
How Did Dudu Myeni’s Educational Scandal Start?
According to reports, Dudu’s foray into her country’s political scene actually began with her appointment in 2009 into the South African Airways’ board of directors by the government of President Zuma. Three years later, she rose to the position of chairman of the board after the departure of eight out of fourteen board members, including her predecessor, Cheryl Carolus.
Shortly after her promotion to board chairman, the CEO suddenly lost his appointment following accusations that Myeni had secretly had him under surveillance with the airline’s security service.
The low point of her tenure arrived in January 2014 when several non-executive members wrote to the then Public Enterprises Minister, Mr. Malusi Gibaga, expressing dissatisfaction and passing a vote of no confidence in her leadership. However, Mr. Gibaga’s attempt at finding a lasting solution to the problem that had become Myeni, saw him removed from office by President Zuma.
His replacement, Mr. Lynne Brown, was ordered to “clean house” by replacing all of Myeni’s detractors. Myeni was also advised to bring back Mr. Kalawe, who had earlier lost his job with the airline because he went toe to toe with Myeni, as CEO. A directive that was never obeyed.
She Received Heavy Backlash For Her Lack of Educational Qualification
As expected, accusations were levied against Myeni’s apparent lack of formal educational qualifications which were a prerequisite for the positions she had previously held. She had by her own admission stated that the bachelor’s degree in administration from the University of Zululand listed amongst her credentials was fake.
This admission led to high levels of discontent from colleagues who believed they were far more qualified than a woman who was considered to be rude, high-handed, and ruthless in her dealings with fellow executives in the SAA.
One such flagrant disregard for cooperation within the airline was made even more evident by Myeni’s decision in October 2015 to alter the airline’s lease agreement with Airbus for 5 Airbus A330s, which was part of a plan to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the SAA. Myeni, without involving other executives, tried to get Airbus to instead sell outrightly to an unnamed third party. An attempt that was ultimately foiled by the then finance minister, Pravin Gordon.
Her Political Appointments and Other Offices Held
- Board Member of the Jacob Zuma Foundation
- Vice president of the African Water Association
- Chairperson of the South African Association of Water Utilities and the Mhlathuze Water Board
- Director of Trade and Investment Kwazulu-Natal
- Chairperson of South African Airways (SAA)
Who Is Myeni’s Husband?
Dudu Myeni’s perceived close relationship with former South African President, Jacob Zuma once resulted in the Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader, Mr. Julius Malema, addressing her in parliament as “Dudu Myeni Zuma”. A tag that clearly did not go down well with Myeni because her response, to such open disregard of her marriage, was to state that her husband would soon retire to confront those who kept referring to her as “Dudu Myeni Zuma”.
It is clear that Dudu prefers to keep her family affairs out of the spotlight. This has resulted in very little information being available with regards to her husband, although it is gathered that she has one son with her husband – his name is Thalente Myeni and he currently runs a company named Dimadox.
Hate her or love her, Dudu Myeni is a name any South African associated with the political scene will not forget in a hurry. However, her high ambition and corporate maneuvers led to the delinquent director judgment delivered against her in 2020. She was further banned for life, from holding any position as a director, by Judge Ronel Tolmay at the Pretoria high court on May 27th, 2020.